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6 Reasons You Might Prefer the SAT

6 Reasons You Might Prefer the SAT


Take the SAT if you…

  1. Panic when faced with time limits

One of the most noticeable differences between the SAT and the ACT is the amount of time per question – you have much more of it on the SAT.  This doesn’t actually make the SAT easier, since its actual questions tend to be harder, but it does mean that the ACT feels like more of a time crunch than the SAT.

As such, doing well on the SAT requires calm in the face of time limits.  If you struggle to move through material quickly or tend to panic, you’ll likely do better with the SAT. 


  1. Can’t stand the idea of not getting to every question

On the SAT, you have enough time to get to most of the questions, as long as you use it wisely.  On the ACT, you probably won’t finish all of the sections unless you’re scoring a 30 or above.


  1. Have a hard time spotting details when you read

SAT reading questions almost always give you the line number where you can find the relevant information.  Even if they don’t give you the exact location, the questions are in order, so its rarely difficult to find information in the passage.

ACT reading questions, on the other hand, are randomly ordered and frequently don’t give line numbers, so finding specific details in the passage is one of the trickiest parts.  If you struggle with retaining or finding details, you will probably prefer the SAT.


  1. Struggle with geometry

ACT math has over three times as many geometry questions as the math section on the SAT.  Plus, for the ACT, you need to memorize all the formulas, while on the SAT you’re given them at the beginning of the section.

If you have a very hard time with geometry, consider taking the SAT.


  1. Want to encounter as little science as possible

The ACT has a science section; the SAT does not.  If you dislike science or struggle with quantitative thinking, you will probably prefer the SAT.

The SAT does include science questions in each of its three sections, so there’s no way to escape science entirely.  Nonetheless, struggling with science will have less of an effect on your score on the SAT than it will on the ACT.


  1. Excel at writing analytical essays in English class

The SAT essay asks you to read and analyze a persuasive essay, much like you might for a class assignment.  If you like English class, you’ll almost certainly prefer the SAT essay to the ACT one.  

That being said, neither essay effects your overall score, so a preference for one or the other shouldn’t play a major role in your decision between the two tests.